This year John Damgaard turns eighty and is “still going strong” to quote from the annotation. Danacord has compiled this attractive compilation of piano masterworks, recorded by Damgaard in 1979 in either Aarhus or Copenhagen – good sound if a little clangy in the treble – that suggest him as a discriminating musician who draws the listener into the music literally at hand without fad or fancy while avoiding literalism. The Beethoven (A-flat Sonata, Opus 110) is absorbing, and the Chopin (B-minor Sonata, Opus 58) intimate and shapely without denuding fleetness (Scherzo) or passions (Damgaard finds fortissimos well enough), with the slow movement sweetly flowing and sensitive. Finally, Brahms’s Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel is given with character and poise. How these accounts would fare in a comparative survey of recordings of each piece (as in ‘building a library’) is an unanswered question; however, on their own terms, they make for enjoyable listening on Danacord DACOCD 910.

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